How low can you go?

Cycling in Indochina photo by Vicki Frater

Intrepid trips have always been designed to be as planet friendly as possible – using public transport where we can, staying in smaller locally owned and operated accommodation where available, buying local produce and carefully managing precious resources such as energy and water.

And since 2010, the majority of our trips are carbon offset – this means we measure the carbon emissions from the transport, accommodation and waste generated and contribute to emissions reduction programs ‘balancing out’ these emissions.

Amongst our range of more than 1000 trips, some go the extra mile in being exceptionally low impact – especially those where it’s your energy or the wind that takes you places!

If you want to ensure your next adventure is extra low on environmental impacts – take a look at the following selection of Intrepid tours:

Wind powered

Intrepid’s sailing trips are the new hot favourite amongst our staff. You can either have a hands-on experience and learn the ropes from your skipper or take it easy, simply relaxing on deck and soaking up the sun and gentle ocean breezes – the choice is yours. We sail on monohull yachts in Europe and the Caribbean, and multihull catamarans in South East Asia – a wonderful conscience clear way to take in balmy waters, scenic coastlines and colourful marine life.

Sail Italy – choices include: the Amalfi Coast; and Procida to Amalfi or the reverse.
Sail Greece – choices include: Mykonos to Santorini or reverse; and the Cyclades Islands.
Sail CroatiaTrogir to Dubrovnik or reverse.
Sail Thailand – choices include: Phuket Sailing Adventure, Koh Phi Phi to Phuket or reverse and Koh Samui sailing options.
Sail BurmaBurma Sailing – sailing around some of the 800 islands of Burma’s Myeik (Mergui) Archipelago in the Andaman Sea will take you well off the tourist trail and a step back in time.
Sail CaribbeanBritish Virgin Islands Sailing – sailing, snorkelling and lazing around multiple beautiful islands – this adventure raises the word ‘idyllic’ to greater heights!
Please note, that we’re in the lap of the gods and do need wind to sail. Occasionally, mainly in SE Asia, the motor is needed.

Pedal powered

One of Intrepid’s all time favourite trips has you taking in the best that ‘Nam has to offer, at handle bar height.
Cycle Vietnam – this two-wheeled adventure takes you from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. On average you will be cycling 70km/day and there’s a little help with an overnight train journey from Ninh Binh to Hue.
Also check out our cycling tours in Jordan; Nicaragua Costa Rica and Panama; and Cuba.

Trek there

For the keen hiker, Nepal offers a breathtaking selection of our very lowest impact trips. Firm favourites include:
Nepal Adventure hiking to the west of Kathmandu and
Annapurna Sanctuary includes 10 days of trekking in the magnificent Annapurna range region.

Taking the slow road

When it comes to wildlife viewing, slowing the pace can bring the best rewards of extraordinary encounters. But there’s no denying that Africa safari travel that mostly uses customised 4WD trucks, is not usually in the lowest impact category. So Intrepid is delighted to this year launch our unique public transport based trip – Southern Africa Unplugged. This 16 day adventure visits the highlights of Swaziland, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Kruger, with travel modes including bike, public bus, a ‘Chapa’ or converted passenger truck and a traditional sailboat – a dhow to the Bazaruto Archipelago.

For more information on how and why Intrepid work to make their tours as low impact as possible.

Photo: cycling in Indochina by Vicki Frater

About the author'
Jane Crouch - Jane is a responsible business guru who writes about all aspects of how travel can bring positive environmental, social and economic benefits. Informed through travel on seven continents, leading Intrepid trips through SE Asia, work in outdoor education, energy conservation, international development, philanthropy and climate change action, plus a big love of walking, mountains and world music.

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Have you heard of Travellers Against Plastic? Signing up to treat your own water rather than add to litter seems another more sustainable way to travel. I took the pledge this year.'

Hi Tasmin,
Thanks so much for telling us about this pledge. What a great idea which we’ll certainly look into at Intrepid. We currently have information in all our trip notes about alternatives to bottled water, and purification methods…but the more angles by which we can spread the word on these issues and the options, the better. In many cities the tap water is fine, but travellers just need confident reassurance from a local who knows (like our group leaders) rather than just reach for the bottled water.
Best wishes, Jane'

It would be great if Intrepid could publish the carbon emissions for each trip. Offsetting is all very well, but not all types of it are permanent (eg forests can catch fire) and avoiding the carbon is better. It can be hard to accurately measure the carbon from transport, and at least it is a lot of effort, so publishing the information that Intrepid has already would help customers to make better decisions, as well as supporting intrepid’s eco credentials further.

It would also be useful to allow people to see how much difference their form of travel makes to where the Intrepid journey begins. A link to a good carbon calculator or two would therefore help to consider the trip in the round, given that a long haul return flight is likely to dwarf the carbon footprint of the rest of most trips.'

Hi Nic, Thanks for your interest in our offsetting program. Yes, we agree that offsetting is certainly not a fix-all. Our tactic is to reduce our trip emissions where we can, often by changing transport arrangements, and then off-setting the balance of emissions. The carbon emissions per passenger per trip are in the Facts boxes for each trip in brochures and on the web-site. (There are a handful of trips there which we don’t directly operate, that are not offset.) I omitted emissions details from this article…partly as it gets very technical and whether the emissions are 300kg or 3000kg CO2e is quantification some readers find ‘challenging’ to comprehend. We do have lots more information on our process and about the offset credits we purchase,(currently wind energy in Turkey, not trees) on our website here. And here is our offset provider’s Personal Air Travel Carbon Footprint calculator.
Thanks again for your active engagement on these issues.
Best regards

Dear Jane, I like the positive article. However, both Santorini and Mykonos ARE Cyclades Islands.'

Hi Chantel,
Full marks for your Greek geography 😉 These are the trip names we use. The Mykonos to Santorini (or reverse) trip goes one way visiting 6 beautiful islands of the Cyclades and the trip just called the Cyclades visits 9 islands – starting and finishing in Santorini. Always a wee challenge for us coming up with different trip names in the same region!
Cheers, Jane

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